From the crowds of WOMAD to the peace at home

The main stage, known as the Bowl of Brooklands. 

There have been a number of different things happening in our lives lately, so gardening has taken something of a back seat. Instead, I thought I would showcase the area of our local gardens that we know as “The Bowl” and Brooklands Park. For those who have been to New Plymouth, these are the upper reaches of Pukekura Park, a wonderful legacy from a much earlier generation,  close to the centre of the city.

This was WOMAD weekend – the world music festival which travels the globe. It is a huge event for our small city and I wanted to share the beauty of the location which accommodates 3 large stages and 3 small stages, plus all the other accoutrements of festivals.

The entrances alone set the scene. That is Mark in the coral pink tee shirt, standing by George’s tree. I wrote a short tribute to George Fuller when he died. A former curator of the park for many years, he set up camp beneath that puriri tree to protest plans to remove it in order to widen the road access. In this, he was successful, as can be seen. George may be dead but his tree lives on.

The entire WOMAD festival takes place within the embrace of trees. I particularly like the small Dell Stage for its intimacy and charm.

Adjacent to The Dell is this lily pond. It is a good exercise in knowing your water lilies. Some lilies S P R E A D to take up all the water, which rather defeats the reflective qualities. If you plan on growing a few water lilies at home, my advice is not to plant these overly strong triffids but to seek out smaller growing, named varieties which may be less inclined to stage a takeover bid. There are easier maintenance tasks than thinning water lilies.

From memory, the white sculpture is based on cloud formations and was placed to be reflected in the water. To me, I fear, they are more evocative of toothy molars but each to their own.

We were at WOMAD this time because I was involved. Nothing musical – I do not have a musical bone in my body, although Mark is an ageing rock and pop drummer from way back. He still has his drum kit, though I banished it to the shed rather than a spare bedroom. I was interviewing winemaker Allan Scott, a leading light in the Marlborough wine industry and one of a fairly small number of independent wineries in an increasingly multinational, corporate industry. The session was accompanied by wine tasting (five wines) and food matching with canapes. It is a situation where I rather regretted my unbreakable rule of never drinking when presenting to an audience. Sauvignon blanc, Chardonnay, Gewurtztraminer, Riesling and Pinot noir – but not a drop passed my lips until we had finished.

One of the other aspects of our WOMAD that really impresses me is the zero waste priority. Unlike most events that attract thousands of people, WOMAD is simply remarkable for its total absence of rubbish on the ground and the use of compostable or reusable serving dishes and drinking vessels. It is proof that with a good set-up and plenty of good management, litter and plastic waste can be eliminated.

Our white crepe myrtle

It is a three day festival, but we piked after two days. We are not used to crowds and noise, and come Sunday, we were both happy to have a quiet day in the garden at home. Down in our park the crepe myrtle (lagerstroemia) is like blossom. It does not often bloom like this but this is an indication of the long, hot, summer we had this year. Usually we grow it for its attractive bark and the flowers are sparse and pass without attracting attention.

Colchicums are not the same as autumn crocus

The colchicums are also flowering – in the rockery but also naturalised down in the park area that we now call the meadow. That is surely a sign that autumn is here.

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3 thoughts on “From the crowds of WOMAD to the peace at home

  1. tonytomeo

    That seems late for a crape myrtle. Ours try to bloom by mid summer, not at the end of summer. We tend to make the same observation about ‘Natchez White’, that it does not bloom as well as the others, but has exquisite bark, and often has exquisite foliar color in autumn. I think they look better after getting pollarded, but that is such an unpopular technique here.

    Reply
      1. tonytomeo

        Oh, I did not consider the style. I actually dislike it because it is too common here for situations that it is not well suited to.

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